For the first time since suffering an upper body injury against the Colorado Avalanche that forced him out of the past four games, Matt Stajan returned to practice without a non-contact jersey, indicating a return could be near for the veteran.
That return could be as soon as Wednesday when the Calgary Flames host the Detroit Red Wings at Scotiabank Saddledome.
"I got to take a regular shift in practice today so, play like I'm going to play and hope everything feels good tomorrow and I can go," Stajan said.
Coach Bob Hartley's plan is to have the 29-year-old back in the fold against the Red Wings, but a decision on Stajan hinges on the medical staff.
"I'm quite hopeful he's going to be in the lineup tomorrow," Hartley said. "The medical staff, I'm looking whether this afternoon or tomorrow morning, he should give me the green light unless something bad would happen. We'll just have to wait and see."
Stajan has five goals and 23 points in 38 games this season.
KIPPER GETS START
Also returning to the ice against the Red Wings will be Miikka Kiprusoff, who hasn't started since April 10th, a 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
With his future beyond the season in doubt, it could be one of the final times Kiprusoff plays on home ice. Unsure of whether or not he'll return to the Flames or retire in the offseason, the goaltender didn't rule out that Wednesday's game could be one of the last opportunities fans in Calgary to catch the keeper live.
"There is a chance but like I say it's a decision I'm going to make in the summer what I'm going to do in the future," he said.
Kiprusoff has one year remaining on a six-year, $35 million contract signed in October of 2007.
With a two game goal scoring streak and with three points in five games since being recalled from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League, a much-improved Sven Baertschi is beginning to emerge.
As a result, Baertschi -- who failed to record a point in 10 games prior to the recall -- is starting to show signs of increased confidence.
"Young players, lots of time, they gauge their games on how many times the red light goes on," Hartley said. "At the same time, it's a good confidence builder. I think that the game always grows around good performances plus at the same time when you score goals. Sven is doing good. He's doing lots of good things for us and every day, whether at practice or in games."
Mike Cammalleri, who has seen some time on a line with Baertschi since his recall, can see the potential starting to emerge.
"Experience is always going to help. The more games you play, the more comfortable you'll feel," Cammalleri said. "Sven has an incredibly high skill set and it's a matter of him figuring out how to apply that to the NHL game. He'll get better as he goes."
REINHART READY TO GRIND
Scoring his first goal and adding an assist through the first six games of his National Hockey League career, Maxwell Reinhart has done well in his audition with the Flames.
It isn't over.
After trying Reinhart in an offensive capacity, Hartley is ready to see what the 21-year-old can provide in a grinding role. The coach plans to try the 6-foot-1, 180-pound forward with Tim Jackman and Steve Begin on the fourth line.
"We want to put him in a grinder role to see how he's going to react," Hartley said. "We put him in a couple games where his job was centering a line with offensive power. Well, tomorrow with Beg and Jacks, there could be a little bit more electricity and a little bit more physical contact and I'm anxious to see how he's going to react to this."